A Wylde Tale by T. J. Schaaf and Cal Westray
Chapter 16: Death on the Wind
I wake from my sleep, the memories still fresh in my mind. I summon the Sign of the Pattern before me, to reassure myself that it wasn’t just a dream. It floats before me like a glowing blue bubble, and I am intimately familiar to the fiery labyrinth tracery within. It feels great to be whole again. I dispel it as easily. I let Tabitha sleep for awhile longer as I dress for the day and prepare some coffee and breakfast.
True to her word, Cassandra removed the blocks. I am expected to depart this place soon and I know that I will miss it. My senses tell me that things aren’t done here yet. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I am sure of it. Something has been overlooked and I can’t think of what it was. Moonscrye might have known what it was, but she is of no help to us now. That bloody demon assassin! If I had my full powers I may have been able to prevent Moonscrye’s death, but Alban may have died instead. No point of indulging in self-doubt. I can’t shake this feeling. Maybe it is the Pattern sensitivity at work; with it, I am sensing magical energies everywhere. It tends to feed any paranoid tendencies that exist.
No, that’s not it. I’m sure of it. It has something to do with Thomas and the girl, of that I am sure. Bloody hell! It’s no use, I will have to talk with them about it if I want to remember it.
I am working on my second cup of coffee as Tabitha wakes up. “Good morning, my dear.”
“Good morning, Wylde. I had this horrible dream that I was in this backwater Shadow, fighting demons and vampires.”
“It is a horrible dream, isn’t it? But it’s not as bad as floating on boulders in the Abyss trying to recover the Jewel of Judgment. Especially since I was in the body of a Pattern Ghost at the time.”
Her eyes widen. “Wylde! You have your memories back. I never mentioned those events to you. Are all the blocks removed?”
“Yes, they are removed for awhile. We will be expected to leave here soon.”
“Back to civilization?” She sounds excited.
“I’m afraid so, Miss Katt.”
“Not a moment too soon. There are some very nice people here, but I am looking forward to getting back to more familiar places. I haven’t had tea at the Richoux in ages! I want to drive a car again, not a horse! I want a long hot shower, a manicure, get my hair done properly, and get a new wardrobe! Is that too much to ask?”
“Not at all. That does sound like fun. We will do all that and more, soon. First, I need to check on a few things.”
I explain the conversation with Cassandra to her as she gets ready for the morning. She hands me her coffee cup for a refill. “Now, let me see if I have this straight. She rerouted you here, gave you amnesia, raised barriers to Pattern and Trump, convinced you to defend this Shadow, seduced you, is now planning to have a nest full of your children, and is now giving you a royal send off?”
“Well, when you put it that way, it sounds so manipulative. But yes, that is an accurate assessment.”
“And you’re ok with that?”
“Not entirely, but there’s little I can do. Cassandra would get along famously with my mother. That is the sort of thing that she would do, and probably has. That’s the nature of, if you pardon my pun, the beast.”
“She sure is.”
“No, Wylde. Your mother, Flora! I like Cassandra, she knows what she wants and she has good taste. It is her methods that are at issue.”
“Well, I couldn’t be upset with her. She does have good taste.”
Later in the morning, we are alerted to the sounds of the alarm bells. We rush over to see what is happening. Scouts have returned with news of an impending attack. Our intelligence gathering was unable to spot anything beyond the previous army, so we didn’t know about this new force. More demons are on the way, led by an air warlock. I expect that he will use spells similar to the ones I used against the fire warlock. The size of the attack force is unknown but is expected at any moment. Other scouts were killed and only a few remained to escape.
“I guess we will have to postpone our departure. Get the townspeople to the warehouses again.” I tell Tabitha. “I will get Thomas.” She leaves and I port to Thomas’s cave, to bring him back to town.